Sunday, February 10, 2008

Backing up your data

If you keep anything precious on your computer, and don't regularly back up that data, you are an idiot.

Computer operating systems and the hard drives they reside on have become increasingly reliable, but non-recoverable failures do occur, and often without any warning at all.

And there really is no excuse for not backing up. External hard drive prices have plummeted over the past 5 years, with 500GB drives available for under £70.

If you have a Macintosh computer running Leopard (OSX 10.5), Time Machine is part of the system, and does an excellent job of backing up your system. Just make sure you purchase a hard drive that is at least twice the capacity of the one you're backing up.

If you simply want to create a bootable duplicate of your hard drive, and/or you are running Tiger (OSX 10.4), there are two free/donation-ware utilities that do the job very well.

I have used Carbon Copy Cloner for years now. It works reliably, and you can customise the way it backs up to suit your requirements. My routine is to erase my backup drive's existing data before each back up, it keeps things simple, and maximises the lifetime of my back up drive.

SuperDuper! is another excellent program, with a more extensive range of backing up options.

One word of advice, if you have a Power PC Mac, make sure you buy a hard drive with a FireWire interface, otherwise you won't be able to boot your Mac from the external hard drive.

If you are a PC user, things aren't so easy. However, The Register has recently published a positive review of a system called Rebit.


Brook said...

with 500MB drives available for under £70.

Not under £10?

Or do you mean 500GB?

brett jordan said...


thanks brook :-)